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Full text of "American troops in Siberia. Message from the President of the United States, in response to a resolution of the Senate agreed to June 23, 1919, informing the senate of the reasons for sending United States soldiers to and maintaining them in Siberia .."

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SENATE. "7 1 N,,NI 

\mi:kk\n troops in Siberia. 





Jult25, 1919. Res to be printed and lieon the tabli 

The White Hoi 
Washington, July .'.'. 1919. 

e l'i:i SIDES I i »l III e Sen \ II 

Mr: For the information of the Senate, and in response t<> the 
olution adopted June 23, 1919, requesting tin- President t«> inform 
• Senate, if no! incompatible with the public interest, of the reasons, 

sending United States soldiers to Siberia, the duties thai are t<> 
performed l>\ these soldiers, h<>\\ long thej are to remain, and 
ieralrj to advise tin' Senate of the policy of the United States 
vernment in respect \<< Siberia and the maintenance of United 
ttes soldiers there, 1 have the honor t<> say that the decision t<> 
(I American troops i<> Siberia was announced to the press on 
<:u>t 5, 1918, in a statement from the Acting Secretary of Mate, 
which a cop} i- inclosed. 

Fhis measure was taken in conjunction with Japan and in concert 
purpose with the other allied powers, first of all to save the Czecho- 
\ak armies which were threatened with destruction by hostile 
ties apparently organized by, and often largely composed <>f 
my prisoners of war. The second purpose in view was i" Bteady 
■ efforts <»f the Russians at self-deiense, or tl stablishment of 

and order in which they might he willing t<> accept assistance. 
\\o regiments of Infantry, with auxiliary troops about 8,000 
ctives comprising a total of approximately 10,000 men, were sent 
ler the command of Mnj. Gen. William >. Graves. The troops 
an to arrive at Vladivostok in September, 1918. Considerably 


larger forces were dispatched by Japan at about the same time and 
much smaller forces by others of the allied powers. The net result 
was the successful reunion of the separated Czecho-Slovak armies 
and the substantial elimination in eastern Siberia of the active 
efforts of enemy prisoners of war. A period of relative quiet then 
ensued. x 

In February, 1919, as a conclusion of negotiations begun earlv in 
the summer of 1918, the United States accepted a plan proposed bv 
Japan for the supervision of the Siberian railways bv an international 
committee, under which committee Mr. John F. Stevens would 
assume the operation of the Russian Railway Service Corps In 
this connection, it is to be recalled that Mr. John F. Stevens in 
response to a request of the provisional government of Russia went 
to Russia in the spring of 1917. A few months later he was' made 
official adviser to the minister of ways of communication at Petrograd 
under the provisional government. At the request of the pro- 
visional government, and with the support of Mr. John F Stevens 
there was organized the so-called Russian Railway Service Corps' 
composed of American engineers. As originally" organized, the 
personnel of this corps constituted 14 skeleton 'division units as 
known m this country, the idea being that these skeleton units would 
serve as practical advisers and assistants on 14 different sec- 
tions of the Siberian Railway, and assist the Russians by their 
knowledge of long-haul problems as known in this country, and which 
are the rule and not the exceptions in Siberia. 

Owing to the Bolshevik uprising, and the general chaotic condi- 
tions, neither Mr. Stevens nor the Russian Railway Service Corps 
was able to begin work in Siberia until March, 1918. 'They have been 
able to operate effectively only since the railway plan was adopted 
in February, 1919. 

The most recent report from Mr. Stevens shows that on parts of 
the Chinese Eastern & Trans-Baikal Railway he is now running six 
trains a day each way, while only a little while ago they were^only 
able to run that many trains per Week. 

In accepting the railway plan, it was provided that some protection 
should be given by the allied forces. Mr. Stevens stated frankly 
that he would not undertake the arduous task before him unless he 
could rely upon support from American troops in an emergency. 
Accordingly, as provided in the railway plan, and with the approval 
of the interallied committee, the military commanders in Siberia 
have established troops where it is necessary to maintain order at 
different parts of the line. The American forces under Gen. Graves 
are understood to be protecting parts of the line near Vladivostok, 
and also on the section around Verchne Udinsk. There is also under- 
stood to be a small body of American troops at Harbin. The exact 
location from time to time of American troops is, however, subject 
to change by the direction of Gen. Graves. 

The instruction to Gen. Graves directed him not to interfere in 
Russian affairs but to support Mr. Stevens wherever necessary. The 
Siberian Railway is not only the main artery for transportation in 
Siberia but is the only open"access to European Russia to-day. The 
population of Siberia, whose resources have been almost exhausted by 
the long years of war and the chaotic conditions which have existecl 

t\ •* B. 
AU(3 'j^ 1919 


there, can be protected from a further period of chaos and anarchy 
only by the restoration and maintenance of traffic on the Siberian 

Partasan bands under leaders having no settled connection with any 
organized government, and bands under leaders whose allegiance to 
any settled authority is apparently temporary and transitory, are 
constantly menacing the operation of the railway and the safety of 
n- permanent structures. 

The situation of the people of Siberia meantime is that they have 
no 3hoes or warm clothing; thej are pleading for agricultural machin- 
ery and for manj of the simpler articles of commerce upon which 
their own domestic economy depends and which are necessary to 
fruitful and productive industry among them. Having contributed 
fll( '"' quota to the Russian armies which foughl the central empires 
for three and one-half years, they now look to the Allies and the 
1 nitcd States for economic assistance. 

The population of western Siberia and the forces of Admiral 
Kolchak are entirely dependent upon these railways. 

The Russian authorities in this country have succeeded in shipping 
Large quantities of Russian supplies to Siberia, and the Secretary of 
War is now contracting with the great cooperative societies which 
operate throughout European and Asiatic Russia to ship further 
supplies to meet the nee, Is of the civilian population. The Kolchak 
Government is also endeavoring to arrange for the purchase of medical 
a,l(l other Red Cross supplies from the War Department, and the 
American Red Cross is itself attempting the forms of relief for which 
it i- organized. All element- of the population in Siberia look to the 
United Mate- for assistance. This assistance can nol be given to 
tne population of Siberia, and ultimately to Russia, if the purpose 
entertained for two years to restore railwav traffic isabandoned. The 
presence ot American troops is a vital element in this effort. The 

services ,,| Mr. Stevens depend upon it. and. a point of serious mo- 
ment, the plan proposed by Japan expressly provides that Mr. Stevens 
:m<\ all foreign railway expert- shall he withdrawn when the tn - 

are w ithdrawu. 

From these observations it will he seen that the purpose of the 
continuance ot American troops in Siberia is that we, with the con- 
currence of the great allied powers, max keep open a necessary 
artery ot trade ami extend to the vast population of Siberia the eco- 
nomic aid essential to lt ,,, pea ce time, but indispensable under the 
conditions which have followed the prolonged and exhausting par- 
ticipation h\ Russia m the war against the Central Powers This 
participation was obviouslj of incalculable value to the allied cause 
and m a very particular way commends the exhausted people who 
suffered from it to such assistance a- we can render to bring about 
then- industrial and economic rehabilitation. 
\ erv respectfull) . \ ours, 

Woodrow Wilson. 


Department of State, 

August 5, 1918. 
For the Press: 

The Acting Secretary of State issues the following statement to t 
press in re American-Japanese action in Siberia: 

In the judgment of the Government of the United States, a juc 
ment arrived at after repeated and very searching considerations 
the whole situation, military intervention in Russia would be mc 
likely to add to the present sad confusion there than to cure it, ai 
would injure Russia rather than help her out of her distresses. 

Such military intervention as has been most frequently propose 
even supposing it to be efficacious in its immediate object of deliverii 
an attack upon Germany from the east, would in its judgment be mo 
likely to turn out to be merely a method of making use of Russia th; 
to be a method of serving her. Her people, if they profited by it 
all, could not profit by it in time to deliver them from their prese: 
desperate difficulties, and their substance would meantime be ust 
to maintain foreign armies, not to reconstitute their own or to fei 
their own men, women, and children. We are bending all oi 
energies now to the purpose, the resolute and confident purpose 
winning on the western front, and it would in the judgment of tl 
Government of the United States be most unwise to divide or dissipa 
our forces. 

As the Government of the United States sees the present circur 
stances, therefore, military action is admissible in Russia now on. 
to render such protection and help as is possible to the Czech 
Slovaks against the armed Austrian and German prisoners who a: 
attacking them and to steady any efforts at self-government or sel 
defense in which the Russians themselves may be willing to acce] 
assistance. Whether from Vladivostok or from Murmansk am 
Archangel, the only present object for which American troops will \ 
employed will be to guard military stores which may subsequently \ 
needed by Russian forces and to render such aid as maybe acceptab 
to the Russians in the organization of their own self-defense. 

With such objects in view the Government of the United Stat< 
is now cooperating with the Governments of France and Gre 
Britain in the neighborhood of Murmansk and Archangel. Tl 
United States and Japan are the only powers which are just now i 
a position to act in Siberia in sufficient force to accomplish eve 
such modest objects as those that have been outlined. The Got 
ernment of the United States, has, therefore, proposed to the Got 
eminent of Japan that each of the two governments send a fore 
of a few thousand men to Vladivostok, with the purpose of cooj 
erating as a single force in the occupation of Vladivostok and i: 
safeguarding, so far as it may, the country to the rear of the west 
ward-moving Czecho-Slovaks ; and the Japanese Government hs 

In taking this action the Government of the United States wishx 
to announce to the people of Russia in the most public and solem 
manner that it contemplates no interference with the politic* 
sovereignty of Russia, no intervention in her internal affairs — nc 
even in the local affairs of the limited areas which her military fore 


iv be obliged to occupy and do impairment of her territorial 
egrity, eitfier now or hereafter, but that what we arc about to 
has as its single and only object the rendering of such aid as shall 
acceptable to the Russian people themselves in their endeavors 
regain control of their own affairs, their own territory, and their 
n destiny. The Japanese Government, it is understood, will 
ue a similar assurance. 

Hiese plans and purpose- of the Government of the I mted States 
V( . been communicated to the Governments of Greal Britain, 
ance, and [taly, and those Governments bave advised the Depart- 
• m (1 f State that they assent to them in principle. No conclusion 
,t the Government of the United State- ha- arrived at m this 
portant matter is intended, however, as an effort to restrict the 
ions or interfere with the independent judgmenl of the Govern- 
mts with which we are now associated in the war. 
I I l- also the hope and purpose of i he ( iovernmeiit of the United 

,1,- to take ;el\ antage of the earliesl opportunity to send to Siberia 
ommission of merchant-, agricultural expert-, labor advisers, Red 
.-- representatives, and agents of the Young Men's Christian 
sociation accustomed to organizing the besl method- of threading 

-fill information and rendering educational help of a modesl kind 

order in some systematic waj to relieve the immediate economic 

•c— ilics of the people there in every way for which an opportunity 
v open. The execution of this plan will follow and will not be 
•initted to embarrass the military assistance rendered to the 

l i- the hope and expectation of the Government of the United 

ites that the ( rovernments with which it is associated will, wherever 
r._ ;1 ,\ or possible, lend their active aid m the execution of these 

'ary and economic plan-. 




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